We’re all used to citizen science projects that aim at education, or at producing scientific value, but the combination – especially involving groups of young children – remains incredibly difficult to pull off. The ‘Blackawton Bees’ study is a touchstone for much of my thinking, but hasn’t been replicated in the UK and required a huge investment of effort. Credit then, to the authors of the study cited in this piece who not only attempted something ambitious but also wrote clearly about both what did and what didn’t work. –CJL

Citizen scientists have helped researchers track everything from endangered plants to monarch butterfly eggs. But these amateur observers are usually adults. Could kids help out too?

In a study published in PLOS ONE, scientists tested the citizen science capabilities of 302 elementary school students in Germany. The children, enrolled at 10 schools in urban and rural areas, ranged from 8 to 10 years old. As part of their science curriculum, the kids carried out experiments with plant seeds in the spring and early summer of 2013.

Featured image: Elementary school students in Germany set up experiments with seeds as part of a study to test their citizen science capabilities. (Photo credit: Miczajka, V.L., A.-M. Klein, and G. Pufal. 2015. PLOS ONE doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143229.)

Source: Can kids do citizen science?

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